Bulls versus Nuggets Preview

The Denver Nuggets seem to struggle on the road but are winners of five straight at home and will begin a two-game homestand by hosting the NBA-worst Chicago Bulls on Thursday. The Bulls versus Nuggets will be broadcast at 9pm on WGN and Altitude. Play this game as part of Thursday GoW cross sports contest starting at 8:25pm ET.

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The Nuggets could use a home game against a lowly opponent after getting blown out 106-77 at Utah on Tuesday. The 77 points marked a season-low for the Nuggets, who average 112.1 points at home but just 100.5 on the road. The Bulls average an NBA-worst 94.6 points and were held below 100 for the fifth straight game in a 104-99 home loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Chicago is making a one-game trip to Denver before coming home to host the Sacramento Kings the next night and is looking for its first road win since a 105-83 triumph at Orlando on November 3 – its only road victory of the season.

ABOUT THE BULLS (3-16)

Chicago’s season began with team turmoil when forward Bobby Portis punched forward Nikola Mirotic in the face, leading to a hospital stay and facial fractures for Mirotic and a suspension for Portis. Mirotic has yet to suit up for a game this season but attended his first game of the campaign on Tuesday. Mirotic, who has reportedly not yet spoken with Portis, began practicing with the team on Monday and is expected to practice with the team’s G League affiliate along with point guard Zach LaVine (knee) while the Bulls are in Denver. Chicago point guard Kris Dunn scored a career-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting in Tuesday’s loss.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (11-9)

Denver lost some veteran leadership when power forward Paul Millsap went down with a wrist injury that required surgery and will leave him out three months, and filling the void is proving to be difficult.  Center Nikola Jokic, 22, is the young face of the franchise but is still growing into a consistent force and followed up a 28-point, 13-rebound, eight-assist effort in a win over Memphis on Friday with seven points in Tuesday’s setback. Nuggets small forward Wilson Chandler (back) sat out Tuesday and is day-to-day.

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Bulls versus Lakers Preview

Los Angeles rookie Lonzo Ball has put up a lot of clunkers through his first 17 NBA games but he also has two triple-doubles in the past five games. Ball will look to follow up a strong effort when the Lakers host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. The Bulls versus Lakers will be broadcast at 10:30 pm on NBATV. Play this game as part of Tuesday GoW cross sports contest starting at 10:30pm ET.

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Ball had 11 points, a career-best 16 rebounds and 11 assists in Sunday’s 127-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Chicago has its own talented rookie in forward Lauri Markkanen but his early season heroics haven’t prevented the club from getting off to a porous start. The Bulls are a putrid 1-7 on the road after opening a four-game excursion with a 113-105 loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The teams split two meetings last season with power forward Julius Randle collecting 20 rebounds (to match a career high) in the Lakers’ victory.

ABOUT THE BULLS (3-11)

Markkanen scored a season-best 26 points and also collected 13 rebounds in the loss to Phoenix and has team-best averages of 15.6 points and eight rebounds. The 7-footer is scoring on the inside and also has knocked down 10 3-pointers over the past three games and is developing as the team’s top scorer much sooner than expected.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (7-10)

Randle had a superb outing with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the victory over Denver. Walton dissected the 22-year-old’s fine performance and was wondering what the potion is to make that type of showing into a regular thing. Center Brook Lopez is averaging 20 points on 17-of-27 shooting over the past two games.

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Battle for Los Angeles

NBA Rundown

Here is the NBA rundown. All of Tuesday Fantasy Basketball matchups to get you ready for your cash drafts. Play at FanPicks now!

Chicago Bulls (33-37) vs Toronto Raptors (41-29)

Just when it seems like the Chicago Bulls are ready to pack it in and fall out of the postseason race completely, they pull off an impressive upset against a top-four team from the Western Conference. The Raptors are winners of back-to-back games and are putting themselves in a position to win with their work on the defensive end.

Detroit Pistons (34-36) vs Brooklyn Nets (13-56)

The Detroit Pistons are clinging to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference and are hoping a win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday was what the team needed to shake out of an offensive malaise that resulted in a three-game slide last week. The Nets may be eliminated from postseason contention but will still put up a challenge against Detroit, just as they have in tight losses the last two games against Boston and Dallas.

Phoenix Suns (22-48) vs Miami Heat (34-36)

The Miami Heat used a tremendous surge to jump back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference but are finding it more difficult to hang onto one of the top eight spots. hoenix lost its last four games and is leaving veterans like Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight on the sidelines while the younger players try to prove they can be building blocks.

Memphis Grizzlies (40-30) vs New Orleans Pelicans (29-41)

The Memphis Grizzlies are part of a three-team competition for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They have won four consecutive games to put heat on the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. New Orleans is playing well with four victories in its last five games.

Golden State Warriors (56-14) vs Dallas Mavericks (30-39)

Golden State endured a three-game losing skid prior to bouncing back with the winning streak and was sharp while rolling to a 111-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Dallas is opening a pivotal four-game homestand as it attempts to chase down the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

San Antonio Spurs (53-16) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (28-41)

The San Antonio Spurs own Minnesota and look to make it 11 straight victories in the series. San Antonio won this season’s previous three previous meetings by an average of 9.7 points behind the heroics of All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard.  The Timberwolves are sliding out of contention for the final playoff spot in the West after losing three straight road games.

Milwaukee Bucks (34-35) vs Portland Trail Blazers (32-37)

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Milwaukee Bucks are both trying to secure a spot in the top eight of their respective conferences, and both are facing some stiff competition. The Trail Blazers will go for their fourth straight win and try to close the gap on the eighth-place Denver Nuggets in the West.  The Bucks dropped to 2-2 on their six-game road trip.

Los Angeles Clippers (42-29) vs Los Angles Lakers (20-50)

The Los Angeles Clippers are closing in on the fourth-place Utah Jazz in the Western Conference playoff chase.  The Lakers have lost five straight games during their fourth consecutive 50-loss campaign as they limp to the finish line.

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NBA Rundown

Wednesday Fantasy Basketball Previews

The NBA rundown examines Wednesday Fantasy Basketball matchups (Enter contest) to get you ready for your cash drafts.

Pacers vs Magic

The Indiana Pacers ripped off three wins in four days to close out last week and are starting to show improvement on the defensive end. They are aiming for a fourth straight victory.

Timberwolves vs Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers just finished off LeBron James’ first losing month since 2006 with a 7-8 January and are searching for answers after dropping a 104-97 decision at the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

Raptors vs Celtics

The teams enter February separated by a half-game in the East and within shouting distance of first-place Cleveland, but they aren’t necessarily trending in the same direction. The Celtics have the chance to achieve their first five-game winning streak of the season.

Knicks vs Nets

The New York Knicks hope to have star forward Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup. Porzingis (illness) was a late scratch prior to Tuesday’s 117-101 loss at Washington, joining guard Derrick Rose (ankle) among the sidelined New York starters.

Hawks vs Heat

The Atlanta Hawks caught a break in the schedule with a much-needed two days off after batting to a 142-139 victory over the New York Knicks in four overtimes on Sunday. The Miami Heat are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference having won their last eight games.

Pelicans vs Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are struggling to put together a 48-minute effort at both ends of the court. They have dropped three games in a row, including a 113-109 setback at Boston on Monday in which they allowed Isaiah Thomas to score 24 points in the fourth quarter.

76ers vs Mavericks

It no longer matters if star rookie Joel Embiid is in the lineup, the Philadelphia 76ers believe they can win no matter who is on the court. Embiid is dealing with a left knee contusion and is not expected to join the 76ers on their two-game road trip this week, which begins against the Dallas Mavericks.

Grizzlies vs Nuggets

Mike Conley is fresh off the highest-scoring game of his career and the point guard looks to post another stellar outing. He poured in a career-best 38 points as Memphis improved to 2-1 on its six-game road trip with a 115-96 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

Bucks vs Jazz

The Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz will both be trying to emerge out of their respective slumps when they meet in Salt Lake City. The Jazz followed up a six-game winning streak with losses in three of the last four games, including a 102-95 setback against Memphis on Saturday in the team’s sixth game in nine days.

Clippers vs Suns

The Carmelo Anthony trade rumors keep lurking around the Los Angeles Clippers and their recent swoon isn’t going to do anything to halt the speculation. The Clippers dropped four of their last five games. The latest loss was an embarrassing 144-98 beat down at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

Bulls vs Thunder

The Chicago Bulls have experienced plenty of tension over the past few weeks and now will spend tons of time with one another on the road. All-Star Jimmy Butler and veteran Dwyane Wade scorched their teammates after one poor effort last week, only to have Rajon Rondo chastise the duo for a lack of leadership in an Instagram post.

Hornets vs Warriors

The Golden State Warriors hope to see All-Star point guard Stephen Curry back on the court versus the Charlotte Hornets. Curry is recovering from a bout with the stomach flu that caused him to miss Sunday’s game against Portland and he is listed as questionable to play against the Hornets.

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NBA Rundown

Friday Fantasy Basketball Matchups

FanPicks.com has your NBA daily rundown to get you ready for live fantasy basketball matchups.

Kings vs Pacers

The Sacramento Kings are displaying signs of life during an eight-game road trip. They aim for a third consecutive victory in Indiana. Sacramento improved to 2-2 on the excursion with a stunning 116-112 overtime win over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Nets vs Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to slump and dropped six of their last eight games. Cleveland lost its last three games and the latest setback was a dreadful 116-112 home overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Magic vs Celtics

The Boston Celtics avoided a four-game losing streak with one of their biggest wins of the season and will play nine of their next 12 games against teams that entered Thursday with a losing record. They snapped their three-game slide with a 120-109 home win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Bucks vs Raptors

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ meltdown over the last two weeks seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Toronto Raptors to jump up and claim the top spot into the Eastern Conference, but instead they’ve gone into a funk as well. The Raptors will try to snap a season-long five-game slide against Milwaukee Bucks.

Hornets vs Knicks

The New York Knicks are apparently intent on getting star forward Carmelo Anthony out of town, though he seems to be the least of their problems at the moment. They’ve won 4 of their last 18 games.

Heat vs Bulls

Dwyane Wade’s old team is visiting just as his new team seems to be coming apart.

Spurs vs Pelicans

The San Antonio Spurs hope to have star small forward Kawhi Leonard back Friday night. Leonard missed the past two games with a left hand injury after a tremendous roll in which he scored 30 or more points in six consecutive contests.

Wizards vs Hawks

The Washington Wizards are quietly making a steady climb up the standings in the Eastern Conference and are winners of nine of their last 11 games.

Rockets vs 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are expecting star center Joel Embiid(knee) to return to the lineup. The center missed three games in a row but the surging 76ers are proving they can survive without his emerging talents, knocking off the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks in a back-to-back earlier this week.

Grizzlies vs Trail Blazers

Memphis center Marc Gasol is on a tear and he aims to top 20 points for the sixth consecutive game. He established career bests of 42 points and five 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 101-99 over the Toronto Raptors.

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NBA Rundown

Wednesday Fantasy Basketball

FanPicks.com has an NBA  rundown to get you ready for live fantasy basketball contests.

Kings vs Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are mired in a funk and LeBron James is getting mighty antsy about it. Cleveland dropped five of its last seven games, including Monday’s 124-122 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Rockets vs Celtics

The Rockets have been exchanging wins and losses for the past seven games (3-4) and five of the results have been decided by at least 13 points.

Heat vs Nets

The Miami Heat picked up a signature win and found a third star to compliment Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside in a 105-102 triumph over the NBA-best Golden State Warriors on Monday. The Heat will try to push their season-best winning streak to five straight against the Brooklyn Nets.

Hawks vs Bulls

The Atlanta Hawks steamrolled over the Chicago Bulls for three quarters on Friday. They are now set to meet for a third time this season. Chicago’s reserves played a dominating fourth quarter to significantly close the gap as Atlanta claimed a 102-93 decision.

76ers vs Bucks

The Philadelphia 76ers continue to make stunning strides and look to lasso their 10th victory in 13 contests versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The 76ers will be without star center Joel Embiid (knee) for the second straight night, but his absence didn’t prevent the club from posting a 121-110 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Raptors vs Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies have had plenty of time to stew over their most lopsided home loss of the season. Legs should be fresh for their matchup with the Toronto Raptors. The Canadian team is coming off a 108-106 home loss to San Antonio on Tuesday and have lost three straight on the second half of back-to-backs.

Thunder vs Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans managed to earn a win without All-Star forward Anthony Davis on Monday but would prefer to have their best player available on Wednesday. Davis would serve as the last line of defense against Russell Westbrook’s drives to the basket.

Warriors vs Hornets

The Golden State Warriors haven’t dropped back-to-back regular-season games since April 2015 and will put that streak on the line against the Charlotte Hornets. The Warriors had their latest winning streak end at seven straight in a 105-102 setback at Miami on Monday.

Knicks vs Mavericks

The New York Knicks finally managed to pull out a close game on Monday, though it probably never should have gotten tight at the end in the first place. The Knicks will try to build a lead and maintain it throughout the fourth quarter this time versus the Dallas Mavericks.

Lakers vs Trail Blazers

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off the worst loss in franchise history. They were routed 122-73 by the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, and the 49-point margin of defeat marked their second 40-point loss during a stretch in which they have suffered six defeats in the last seven games.

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NBA Rundown

Friday Night Fantasy NBA Preview

FanPicks.com has all of Friday’s basketball matchup ready for live Fantasy NBA contests.

Trail Blazers vs 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are surging up the standings and continue to redefine the organization’s expectations for this season and the near future. The 76ers will try to match their longest winning streak of the season at three in a row and pick up their eighth victory in 10 games against the struggling Portland Trail Blazers.

Raptors vs Hornets

The Toronto Raptors scored at least 114 points in six consecutive games before running into the upstart Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and failing to reach 90. The Raptors will try to find their offensive spark and earn a fifth win in six games in Charlotte.

Bucks vs Magic

The Orlando Magic did not fare well on their just-completed six-game road trip, going 1-5 while allowing an average of 113.7 points, and hope a return home can swing the momentum. The Bucks dropped three straight to fall below .500.

Kings vs Grizzlies

The Sacramento Kings are scuffling after a 1-6 homestand and the finale was the worst of the bunch as the team blew a 22-point lead and lost small forward Rudy Gay for the rest of the season. Gay tore his left Achilles’ tendon on a drive toward the basket during Wednesday’s 106-100 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Nets vs Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans’ current six-game homestand is about to get much more difficult. The Pelicans hope to breeze past the Brooklyn Nets before the degree of difficulty increases dramatically.

Warriors vs Rockets

The Golden State Warriors had no trouble turning away a pair of playoff contenders in their last two games and are winners of five straight after sweeping a four-game homestand. The Warriors will try to keep that momentum going and avenge one of their few losses when they open a road-heavy portion of the schedule with a visit to the Houston Rockets.

Bulls vs Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have experienced a lot of recent success against the visiting Chicago Bulls and look to post their sixth consecutive win in the series. The Hawks have been a hot squad but were derailed badly on Wednesday, when they suffered a 118-95 road loss against the Detroit Pistons.

Jazz vs Mavericks

The Utah Jazz are playing solid basketball as they shoot for their fifth consecutive victory versus the Dallas Mavericks. Utah is averaging 107.5 points during its winning streak, which began with an impressive triumph over Cleveland and includes a 33-point thrashing of Detroit.

Pacers vs Lakers

The Indiana Pacers are playing their best basketball of the season. They’ve recovered from a 22-point first-half deficit to record a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game road trip.The Lakers are sliding in the wrong direction with five consecutive losses.

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Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz

The 113-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers marked a third straight win for Chicago and is a strong way to kick off a six-game road trip. The Bulls will work to keep that offense humming when they face one of the best defensive teams in the league at the Utah Jazz on Thursday (Enter Contest). The teams split two meetings last season, with each team winning on its own home court.

Defense was Chicago’s biggest issue during a stretch of four losses in five games to open November, but the Bulls held their last three opponents under 100 points and limited the Trail Blazers to 35.8 percent from the floor (and 9-of-34 from 3-point range) on Tuesday. Chicago outrebounded Portland 67-49 and scored 52 points in the paint as all five starters scored in double figures. It will be more difficult to control the glass against the Jazz, who have Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert up front with Trey Lyles coming off the bench. Favors and Gobert are both trying to bounce back from sub-par efforts after combining for 12 points, seven rebounds and one block in a 102-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

ABOUT THE BULLS (7-4)

Chicago brought in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in the offseason, and the veteran presence is bringing a new level out of swingman Jimmy Butler. The 27-year-old scored 20 or more points in each of the last two games and led the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists on Tuesday. Rondo sat out Tuesday after suffering an ankle injury in Monday’s practice and is day-to-day.

ABOUT THE JAZZ (7-5)

Favors left Monday’s game in the fourth quarter with left knee soreness and did not return, and Gobert watched most of the fourth quarter from the bench as well. Favors will continue to be monitored carefully due to the recurring pain in his knee but the team is not yet planning to sit him for an extended period. Guards Rodney Hood (illness) and George Hill (thumb) sat out Monday and are both day-to-day.

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Dwyane Wade returns to Miami

Dwyane Wade won three NBA titles in 13 seasons with the Miami Heat before departing for Chicago as a free agent last summer. Wade makes his first visit to South Beach as a visiting player when the Bulls battle Miami on Thursday (Enter Contest).

Animosity with Heat president Pat Riley lingers from the breakdown in offseason negotiations that led him to go play for his hometown of Chicago. Wade scored 25 points on Wednesday but the Bulls lost 115-107 to the host Atlanta Hawks for their fourth loss in five games. Miami also has dropped four of its last five games after suffering a 97-85 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

ABOUT THE BULLS (4-4)

Dwyane Wade, a 12-time All-Star, had his second-highest scoring output of the season while making 10-of-17 shots and contributing a season-best five steals in the loss to the Hawks. The 34-year-old is averaging 17.9 points, a distant second on the Bulls behind fellow All-Star guard Jimmy Butler (23.3), who is Chicago’s primary scoring option. Butler scored a season-high 39 points against Atlanta. It was his highest total since a career-best 53-point effort against Philadelphia last January. He also contributed with seven assists and matched his career high of six steals in Wednesday’s game. Point guard Rajon Rondo is averaging just 6.8 assists and has reached double digits only once.

ABOUT THE HEAT (2-4)

Miami is still adapting to not having Wade and the current top scoring options are point guard Goran Dragic (18 points per game) and center Hassan Whiteside (17.5 points, team-best 13.8 rebounds). Backup forward James Johnson scored a season-best 18 points against Oklahoma City and is averaging 14.5 points over the past two games. The Heat won all four of last season’s meetings, including victories by 22 and 18 points.

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New York Knicks vs Chicago Bulls Preview

The city of Chicago is electric after the Cubs won the World Series on Wednesday, but the baseball fever won’t keep basketball fans from anticipating the return of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The two former Chicago stars will take the United Center floor for the first time in visitor’s uniforms when the Bulls host the New York Knicks on Friday (Enter Contest).

Rose and Noah helped lead Chicago to its best post-Jordan records but never managed to take the team to the NBA Finals before injuries and ineffectiveness marred the end of each of their respective tenures with the team. While the Bulls don’t seem to be missing the two former stars much on the court, the Knicks aren’t exactly surging to new heights with the two in the lineup. New York dropped three of its first four games, with all three losses coming by double figures, and is struggling on both ends. The Knicks allowed at least 32 points in each of the first three quarters at home on Wednesday before the Houston Rockets took their foot off the gas and breezed to a 118-99 win.

ABOUT THE KNICKS (1-3)

New coach Jeff Hornacek is trying to institute team president Phil Jackson’s triangle offense into the attack, but it doesn’t look like the system of play was well received. Point guard Courtney Lee was vocal about this system not working among the team. The Knicks have scored over a 100 points in a single game since the beginning of the season; a 111-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rose is averaging 16.3 points but recorded almost as many turnovers (eight) as assists (nine) in the first four games while Noah was held scoreless in two of the first four contests. Kristaps Porzingis averaged 18.3 points in the first three games but slumped to three points on 0-of-4 shooting Wednesday. New York took three of the four meetings last season behind 24.3 points on 50.6 percent shooting from Carmelo Anthony in the four contests.

ABOUT THE BULLS (3-1)

The team picked a good time to suffer its first loss on Wednesday, with much of the print and internet real estate in the Chicago area dominated by the Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908. Anyone in the area that did tune into the Bulls broadcast saw Rajon Rondo, Rose’s replacement at point guard, collect 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the 107-100 setback at Boston. Rondo is having no trouble fitting between wings Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler while center Robin Lopez, who came over in the Rose trade from New York, is proving to be a solid fit in coach Fred Hoiberg’s system. Doug McDermott is in the league’s concussion protocol and is questionable for Friday.

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